Bradbury: Hawks can have Cup shock value

Hawks duo Ben Swallow, left, and Scott Donnelly. Picture: Sarah Standing
Hawks duo Ben Swallow, left, and Scott Donnelly. Picture: Sarah Standing
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Lee Bradbury believes the Hawks have every chance of recording a famous FA Cup upset against Preston North End at Westleigh Park tonight (7.45pm).

The manager is confident his in-form Vanarama Conference South side will impress against their League One opponents.

And, if things go their way on the day, they have enough quality to win.

With it being the FA Cup, Bradbury knows anything can happen.

He said: ‘We are in good form. Confidence is high and there is a good spirit in our squad.

‘As has been proven already, anything can happen in the FA Cup.

‘It is a big game for both teams. We are in a position where we can go out and give it everything we have got.

‘Energy wise, and football wise, we will play our normal game, bringing a lot of passion to it.

‘Coupled with a tight little ground and unfamiliar surroundings for Preston, we will try to make it as uncomfortable as we can for them.

‘It is different to what they are used to and it is important we try to use that to our advantage.

‘We know it won’t be easy because Preston are a very good side, who are well-organised by their manager Simon Grayson.

‘They are flying down and taking it very seriously.

‘I just want my players to go out and play as they do week in, week out.

‘It is important they play the game and not the occasion.’

The Hawks are under no illusions about the difficulty of the task but go into the game in fine form.

They are yet to concede a goal in the competition and have been beaten only once in their past 13 games.

During that time they have kept nine clean sheets and it will be vital not to give their visitors soft chances.

Bradbury believes the blend of youth and experience in his squad will help them rise to the occasion.

He has good experience running through the spine of the team.

Goalkeeper Ryan Young is one of a number of players who won’t be phased by the occasion, along with the likes of Warren Cummings, Brian Dutton, Brian Stock, Scott Donnelly, Bradley Bubb and Alan Connell who have been there, seen it, and done it before.

Hawks have some talented youngsters in their ranks and it is the perfect occasion for them to make their mark.

Strikers JJ Hooper and Shamir Mullings will be keen to show what they are capable of, while winger Ben Swallow could cause some damage if the Hawks can get him on the ball in good areas.

Bradbury said: ‘We have got plenty of experience running through the spine of our team.

‘Preston will come and try to play football and that might allow us to do the same in the midfield.

‘It has all the makings of a good game and we intend to go out there all-guns blazing.

‘It is a chance for some of our younger players, who have aspirations of moving up, to show the country what they can do.

The only injury doubt for the Hawks is striker Bubb who faces a fitness test.

But Nic Ciardini does miss out due to suspension.

HAWKS: Young, Strugnell, Harris, Dutton, Cummings, Stock, Donnelly, Swallow, JJ Hooper, Bubb, Huggins, Ryan, Connell, Mullings, Blanchett. Monteiro, Searle.